Girl power!

The other day our daughter came home from kindergarten asking about girl power.  Evidently the girls in her class have been talking about it, and she wanted to know what it meant.  My wife explained that it meant cleaning up her room and always saying please and thank you.  Not knowing this, I explained that it was what someone says when they can’t actually do anything.

Dalrock’s Iron Law of Girlpower: The more a woman or girl uses the term girlpower, the less she will actually be able to accomplish.

Given our different answers, it seems there are different concepts of what girl power is.

The sex positive feminists want her to be a WHORE or a SLUT. I’m not ok with that.

Sex positive girlpower.

The remaining feminists have other ideas.  I’m not ok with that either!

Girlpower erases Waco!

My idea is different.  I want her to feel perfectly comfortable being a woman and not feel the need to compete with men.  At the same time, I want to teach her real skills so she can actually do things.  Nothing complicated, just things like how to:

  1. Change a tire, oil, and spark plugs.
  2. Build and program a computer.
  3. Fix plumbing.
  4. Fix electrical problems.
  5. Build her own furniture.
  6. Sharpen a knife.
  7. Shoot and field strip a gun (rifle, pistol, and shotgun).
  8. Field dress an animal.
  9. Pull a trailer, and back it up where she wants it using her mirrors.
  10. Drive off road.
  11. Hook a chain or tow strap to a vehicle when stuck.
  12. Properly react when her car goes into a skid.

I’m sure I will think of more as she gets older.  After writing this list I remembered my favorite Heinlein quote:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Sounds about right to this dad.

Information on Janet Reno and prostitute inages available from Wiki Commons.

See Also:  What we need is more moxie!

This entry was posted in Aging Feminists, Fatherhood, Feminists, Moxie. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Girl power!

  1. terry@breathinggrace says:

    Backing up a trailer is pretty complicated. That whole thing where the trailer wheels turn one way when the SUV wheel turns the other is very frustrating and hard to get used to, lol.

    I agree that specialization is highly overrated.

  2. Tarl says:

    “Girl Power” means having all the privileges (and none of the drawbacks) of equality and chivalry simultaneously.

  3. dalrock says:

    The irony about learning more is it tends to be humbling. If you’ve never tried doing something, it is really easy to sit back and criticize.

    I’ve gotten very good at backing up a trailer over the years. I keep my kayak on a trailer in our garage so whenever I come back from kayaking I have to back the trailer up into our driveway from our alley. Basically the trailer has to make a 90 degree turn but the truck has to stay in the confines of the alley until I swing it around into the driveway. If the trailer doesn’t turn fast enough it will take out my gas meter, and if it turns too soon it will take out my fence. When I see truckers backing up semi trailers threading the needle I’m always in awe. Most other folks don’t even notice that they are doing anything special.

  4. Levi says:

    I agree, girl power is just more AW BS. Girl power SUCKS.

  5. J says:

    Yayyyyyyyyyy, Heinlein. This is a great quote! Do you know Maslow? The individual described here by Heinlein fits Maslow’s definition of a healthy, self-actualized person to a tee. This is how I try to raise my sons. This is what, back in the late seventies, a lot of us thought feminism was going to bring us. In fact, while Heinlein was always a lover of the spunky heroine (and there was a time in my life that I wanted to grow up to be Jillian Boardman), I’d bet that quote comes from that era.

    Perhaps I spent a little too much time out of the loop, but I honestly don’t see the connection between feminism and grrl power. The former was about direct power and self-sufficiency. The latter is the same old manipulative attempt to gain power through sex that pre-feminist women used to do more effectively while wearing a longer skirt. (My shortest skirt is still below the knee; it’s always better to keep you guys wanting more. 😉 )

  6. J says:

    BTW, D, I thnk its grrl, not girl. You don’t spell the word; you growl it.

  7. dalrock says:

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that. Just when I thought the term couldn’t make my skin crawl any worse, they found a way.

  8. JD says:

    Great list! And sorry to say, I can’t do any of these things. Grew up in a very traditional, strictly defined gender role (oops, I mean sex role) set-up. Some things were just not “ladylike,” so I was only allowed to learn girly chores. Got married young (22) and husband will literally grab hand or power tools out of my hand and do the task himself, so I’ve never been able to play catch up – and there are times when it’s a real hassle.

    It’s also unlikely for a girl to think she’s a special princess if she’s gutting a deer – good for you, Dalrock!

  9. dalrock says:

    I’m pretty sure I haven’t read the book or story this is from. I stumbled on it one day on the web. I don’t recall where.

  10. dalrock says:

    It’s also unlikely for a girl to think she’s a special princess if she’s gutting a deer

    I love it!

  11. dalrock says:

    By the way, I’m not against sex roles or knocking women who can’t do the things in the list. I don’t think I know any women who could do the whole list, and I even know a few guys who can’t. As game proves, there really is some wisdom in defined sex roles. My father taught my sister many of the items in the list, or at least let her participate while he did them. I think this helped her stay somewhat grounded as she went though her liberal arts degree at UCLA. She now has a very traditional role as mother to three children, and I would say appreciates those things her husband does all the more. And in a pinch she is also better prepared to handle an unexpected problem. Win-win-win.

  12. terry@breathinggrace says:

    My husband can do every one on the list except for field dress an animal. I don’t even know what that is.

    While we haven’t made a list of things as exhaustive as yours, our older girls can handle a few power tools, fix their own bikes if need be, and posess a few other skills not typically identified as girly.

    You’re right. It’s good for them. I’m sure their future husbands will appreciate it, too.

  13. Hope says:

    I just found out yesterday that my husband and I having a boy. It’s really a blessing to have a manly husband. He can do that whole list and then some, and he taught me how to do some of it. I think it is better for us to have a son so he can pass on his masculine knowledge and skill. I also hope to be a good mother and not brainwash our son in the feminist culture.

  14. dalrock says:

    Congratulations Hope! That is fantastic!

  15. dalrock says:

    except for field dress an animal. I don’t even know what that is.

    JD had it with “gutting a deer”. Conceptually it isn’t all that different than cleaning a fish. But you have to take great care not to contaminate the meat while removing the digestive tract. If it is warm out you probably want to skin it to let it cool faster. Taking the hide off makes it weigh less and therefore easier to transport too. For a larger animal like a moose or an elk you probably want to divide it into quarters unless you can drive right up to it. Then you really need a good saw.

  16. Hope says:

    Thank you! Kids are really great. I am excited.

    Heinlein’s quote is really applicable to both genders, too.

  17. dalrock says:

    I agree on the Heinlein quote applying to both sexes. When I first remembered it I was wondering if he said “man” or not, but he says “human” and I don’t think that was an accident. BTW, my very first post on this blog was about changing diapers: How to field strip a baby.

  18. Will S. says:


    BTW, while I’m at it, what is AWCA? Is it related?

  19. J says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen the quote, so I’m guessing later Heinlein. Jillian Boardman is Valentine Michael Smith’s love interest in Stranger in a Strange Land. I loved that book as a teenager although it’s got a little too much cultural relativism for my current tastes.

  20. J says:

    Congratulations! Boys are great fun to mother. It’s a switch from wht you might feel more prepared to do, but it’s great! I have two sons, and I love it!

  21. Clarence says:

    Well, as an evil practitioner of game I have good hopes for Hope and the new baby 🙂

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  23. Badger Nation says:

    Great! Hope you enjoy it!

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  29. bigred says:

    Heinlein quote is from “Time Enough for Love” Heinlein’s greatest character, Lazarus Long.

  30. lifeinlonglegs says:

    The idea that your school’s kindergarden teachers are telling her about “girl power” strikes me as odd. If they were teaching “boy power” Moms would start a riot. 😦

    [D: I don’t think she heard it from the teacher, she heard it from the kids.]

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  36. Shibboleth says:

    If your daughter had a disability or health issue that made her an unlikely candidate for marriage, how would you realistically prepare her for adulthood?

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